I’ll never forget an interview I saw several years ago by Tanner Hall. Tanner Hall is one of the most storied slope style skiers in the world and a pioneer in the sport. During an interview he was asked about his tricks and how he prepares for an event. He said something I will never forget. He said he NEVER does a trick he’s never done successfully a 100 times in practice. He said he knows before he ever goes that he can do what he needs to do. He said he never tries something in competition he hasn’t nailed a 100 times before in practice.
Think about this for a second. In a sport dominated by kids who throw caution to the wind to jump 80,90, 120 foot kickers, Tanner takes NO risks when it comes to competition. Impressive!
There is another element to this approach that isn’t as obvious. When competing, Hall doesn’t know what his competitors are going to do. He doesn’t know how big they’re gonna go, how gnarly their run is going to be, so in order to win WITHOUT trying something he hasn’t done 100 times before, he has to practice doing stuff no one else has ever done, to ENSURE no one can pull some sick air bigger or better then him. This commitment to knowing before going, changes the preparation game.
Do you know before you go in sales? Do you know exactly what you’re going to say, how your going to position your product, what the critical decision criteria are of your clients, what your going to offer, who the stakeholders are, how your going to minimize the detractors, captivate the supporters, leverage the influencers, position price and win the deal? Do you? If you prepared for your sales calls like Tanner Hall you would.
Far too often sales people go into the sales meeting without knowing exactly how it’s going to go. They don’t know before they go and this is a problem.
Sales people are good. They can improvise, respond and react like the best of them. But everyone once in while, you see a Tanner Hall. Nothing surprises them. They’ve anticipated every objection, concern and detractor. The presentation almost seems to have been written for the client, by the client. There are no gotcha’s. There are no surpises. It’s like they had done the meeting 10 times before and knew exactly what was going to happen — just like Tanner Hall.
You can go into a meeting without committing to them like Tanner Hall commits to his runs and you’ll sell some deals. But if you want to win as much as he has (7 X Games Gold Medals in a Row) then you have to know before you go.